NaNoWriMo Changed My Life

NaNoWriMo changed my life. that seems kind of over the top, i know. but it’s sincerely true. when i thought i was learning how to plan out a story and put one word after the other, i was actually learning how to bravely take on challenges and persevere in the face of uncertainty. i also learned how to plan a novel and put one word after the other, but that’s only minorly life changing in comparison.

what i didn’t know, or even realize until very recently, is that through doing NaNoWriMo, i gained the courage to take on big, intimidating challenges and keep going even if i think success is unlikely; even when i’m afraid of failure. my first time taking on NaNoWriMo, i did NOT think i would be able to finish 50,000 words, let alone do it in 30 days. i did not think that i would have anything that even resembled a story when i did so. i was scared that i would find out i was completely talentless and incapable and, most of all, i was afraid of finding this out publicly. (i am connected with my friends on the NaNoWriMo site, after all.) but i did it anyway. and even better, i won.

i wrote 50,000 words in 30 days and i actually had a story at the end. granted it’s no prize winner, but by God, it has a beginning, middle and end that actually makes sense.

and then, last month, during Camp NaNoWriMo, i did it again. and this time i didn’t write during work hours (giving me less time to work on it), and i finished it four days early. and then, having just bolstered my confidence with my success, i did something that still scares me whenever i think about it: i sent it to all my friends to read. and i did it with joy, excitement, and even a little bit of pride.

and that’s just my courage concerning writing. i’m now just as courageous with the rest of my life. what i didn’t know during Nano and Camp Nano, was that every day that i sat down to write, i was diving head first toward a goal that i had no idea if i was capable of achieving. and now, diving into the unknown, striving toward uncertain success, is still scary as hell, but it doesn’t stop me anymore. NaNoWriMo taught me courage. And that has changed the way i live my life.

so if you could go click the vote button so that NaNoWriMo can get a grant that would fund their programs for years to come, i would really appreciate it.

cutting it close

if you follow me on twitter then you’ve already noticed that i’ve started a daily blog. i’ve wanted to make a daily blog for years now, but every year i remember on Jan. 2nd so it doesn’t happen. (cuz i figure i should start properly or not start at all.) but this year i prepared a new blog just for my 300+ word blogs.
already i’ve cut it close. i posted my second blog of the year at 11:58pm. perhaps my New Year’s resolution should be to post my dailies in a timely manner. 😛
thinking of posting things in a timely manner, something i didn’t do that with (again) is the HNS podcast. i’m not sure why… actually, now that i think of it, i do know why i didn’t post it. because editing it is a pain in the ass and i can’t stand editing. i mean, i started making one take vlogs, not because of time constraints and my love of brevity (although those are also factors), but because i hate editing.
actually, i have a love/hate relationship with editing. once i start it, i get all consumed with it and rather enjoy the process. usually. sometimes, a lot of times, it’s just one more thing i have to do and i want to get it done as soon as possible so i can have time to do the other things i have to do, usually to keep from failing at life. so there’s that.
but i digress. a lot.
my daily blog will be different from this blog in one major way: the subject is always me. not the New Year, Alex Day’s new album, other blogs i like, or weird things i’ve noticed, but me. who i am, what i am, what i’m doing (or not doing, as is sometimes the case), and why i’m doing it. almost every post will probably start with “i” (that’s the trend so far) and the rest with “my.” this is because, unlike this blog, i want to force some self-analysis and i always do this best in written form. that, and i want a reason to write every day. not that i need an excuse. i need a purpose to motivate me. if the goal were just “write something every day” i would forget about it and it wouldn’t happen. which is probably the reason why i have been wildly unsuccessful in the past.
this blog will still host BEDA and Blogust (since i don’t want those all to be 300+ word introspectives), and this will also have my random stream of consciousness things and all the other random that isn’t, well, introspective. it must be said that i’m a bit worried about NaNoWrimo. 300 words plus the 1,667+ words for my novel is going to be a challenge. but then, i am someone who’s written 5,000 words in a day (like a boss), so maybe i don’t have that much to worry about.
i also plan to do Camp NaNoWrimo (at least one month) because i am apparently mad. if i finish outlining Delvia in the next few days as i plan to, then i should have nothing to worry about since that will make two things unwritten but outlined. i want to outline one more thing before novel season to put my mind at ease though. because, apparently, if you don’t have at least two back-up plans, then you’re ill-prepared. …sometimes i wonder about my sanity. #writingaddiction #ambitiousgoals
daily blog

i just really felt the need to write something that wasn’t my NaNovel. i’ve been wanting to do this for a while, just turning on a song and letting it inspire the story i would tell. so i did that. (at 3am. because i’m a freakin’ genius!)

oh! and this is completely unedited. there could be super terrible spelling errors or words missing or typos, or any of a myriad of terrible things that can be found in writing. i apologize ahead of time. and without further ado:

The worst part is it wasn’t bad.

If it had been bad, it wouldn’t hurt. I could drown out the pain with anger and justification and logic. I could remember the bad and bury the good, and move on unscathed.

I wouldn’t obsessively play “our” song because sometimes it makes me feel good, but most times it just reminds me that it’s over and irreparable and makes me cry, but I keep playing it hoping that this will be one of the feel-good plays. I wouldn’t need ice packs to minimize the puffiness around my eyes before work in the morning. I wouldn’t have the constant clock ticking in my head, an endless metronome that counts down to when I can stop pretending that I’m ok and moving on and not endlessly thinking of you.

During the day I tell myself it’s not over. I tell myself I’ll call you on my lunch break. And on my lunch break I tell myself I’ll call you after work. And all the while the clock keeps ticking. And I deleted your number from my phone because if I kept calling and hanging up, you would stop answering blocked calls, and getting your voicemail instead of your voice when I know you’re there would be unbearable. I spent days trying to decide whether the fact that technology allows you to never need to memorize anyone’s phone number is a blessing or a curse. If not for that, you’re number would be permanently etched into my brain, programmed into the muscle memory of my fingertips. Instead, my fingers remember how to call you with speed dial, but there’s no longer your number in that memory slot. And I finally decided that it’s both. It is both a blessing and a curse because although all I want to do is call just to hear you say “hello,” it is best that I do not. It is best that I let your voice slowly fade from my memory. Even though that is the least desirable thing I can think of doing right now.

The weekends are the worst. The nine hours I spend on weekdays pretending I’ll call you later are open and empty, waiting for me to fill them in. I fill them with denial, and “our song” and washing. I have washed everything I own at least ten times. I swear I have the cleanest apartment anyone has ever seen. I should probably phone the Guinness Book of Records, because I have no doubt I would make the cut. The only reason I don’t is that media likes to cover when people make it into the Guinness Book, and they would ask me what inspired me to clean so much, and I’d be forced to admit to the whole world that I’m unforgivably pathetic and that the only way I can keep from killing myself is by cleaning.

I said the worst thing was that it wasn’t bad. I change my mind. While that is definitely horrendously bad, on second glance, it really is only second best to the very worst thing. The very worst thing absolutely has to be that this is all my fault. If it weren’t, and if I could blame you, I might be able to slant this into something tolerable.

And don’t misunderstand me. I blame you. If only you had done a better job of communicating your feelings. If only you had been around more often when I was available. Did you ever think about taking my schedule into consideration? But this part, the blaming you, it all happens at the crescendo of the denial. When lost in a mass of denial I can tell myself that it wasn’t my fault at all and that this was inevitable and that it should have happened sooner. But even then, even when I’m in the throes of lying to myself, I know that I’m lying. Somewhere in the undercurrent I always know what really happened. I always know that this is something I did and you didn’t want.

And I was wrong. That isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that you left thinking that I didn’t care. Or that I didn’t care enough. But I did. I cared so much! And that’s why I had to erase your number. That’s why I couldn’t stop calling you. Because I knew if I could just explain to you that I did care. That there were entire days that I didn’t think of anything but you, then things would be ok. They probably would never go back to how they were. I might never see you again. But at least you would know that I’m not the careless jerk that i acted like, and that you were loved, sometimes overwhelmingly so, every single day, and that I’m sorry for making you ever feel otherwise. And there’s a small part of me, a ridiculous and hopeless part I know, but a part all the same that thinks if only I could somehow successfully convey this all to you, that maybe this would fix everything. That this would be enough to reverse the damage and make everything better. But I know that, even if I somehow were able to find the words to tell you how I feel and properly apologize, that it would never go back to how it was. The wound is bigger than the band-aid can cover. So I deleted your number rather than putting myself through a new cycle of pain and you through the most awkward conversation in the universe.

My sister says that I’ll get over this. That one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be the first thing on my mind. I’ve had heartbreak before, and I know it felt like a perpetual annihilation and that I healed. And I know that my sister thinks that what she says is true. That I will move on and find someone who fits me even better, but I swear she’s wrong. There will never ever be another person in a million years that I will love even half as much.

But if I do fall in love again, which I don’t think is likely, but if I do, I will never let my fear of expressing emotions get in the way of being careful and loving, and most of all, present.
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>Nanowrimo’s Eve

>well, here we are. Nanowrimo’s Eve. …and, ya know, Halloween. but Nanowrimo’s Eve!!!

i’ve done all the preparation i can do, and now all that’s left is to pray i don’t get writer’s block. i know where my story is going. i’ve finally met my characters (if only briefly. i would’ve liked to have spent more time with them.) and i have some chapters pre-written in my head. now i’m just all nervous and anxious.

two days ago i started thinking that i should just switch stories altogether. despite having outlined the entire thing, and made up characters, and even drawn a map, i thought maybe it would be easier to do the other story. ya know the one. the one where i talked about not being able to do because i would have to do WAY too much character development and i wasn’t even sure if i was happy with the ending or the journey there. granted, i have since made a rough outline of said story and even developed the characters a bit, but still. i don’t know that story nearly as well as i know my Nano story. and there are big plot holes i haven’t worked through that could really stop me up, while my Nano story is solid.

(sigh) i have to win this. because next year i just want to either a) finish Theta or b) finish my “God story.” that’s the working title. i half way want to work off some of these jitters by writing a chapter of something else, and half way too scared that i’ll somehow burn myself out if i do that. i make no sense. hence why i’m trying to unwind a bit with blogging.

ok, i’m off to do that bathing thing. expect frantic and sporadic updates throughout the month!<!– text

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>still going…

>you haven’t seen any writing from me lately, but i’ve been writing every day. i’m writing character backgrounds and the histories of locations and about animals and monsters and items. i basically have to make an entire fantasy game. so i need to figure out the weapons and the armor and who can use what and how. what are the different classes strengths and weaknesses. there’s just so much to write before i actually write! i have so much to add to the timeline! so many scenes i have to add!
i hope all this work will pay off as much as i think it will. <!– text

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>ok, so i’m not sure if i’m going to get any progress done on anything else, but i can at least write a blog post.
so, since everyone is gearing up for NaNoWriMo, this one chick found all the people in her circles participating in Wrimo and put them in one public circle. only people in the circle could see each other. all 250 people are adding each other. so… i gained 250 friends today. XD
oh, and if anyone’s doing Wrimo let me know so i can add you to my Wrimo circle.
also, this year i plan to go to some of the Wrimo events. at the very least i’ll be going to the kick-off, mid-month, and TGIO (Thank Gosh It’s Over) parties. we’ll see how many of the meet-ups in between i make it to.
i’m just so excited this year! i’m nervous that i won’t win, but not so much that i don’t think i will. i just hope i don’t get a block in the middle! there’s not much you can do if you get a block. :/
well i’m gonna go back to planning, plotting and character development! see ya when i see ya! <!– text

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>writing about writing (and website fails)

>ok. we’re gonna pretend i’m not completely frustrated.

…on second thought, i’m too frustrated to pretend i’m not frustrated.

so, as of now, the website is paid for, the domain is transferred, i’ve set up all the bells and whistles… but PHP, apparently, isn’t running on my server so my blog won’t install. why, yes. yes, i would like to kill someone. thank you for asking.

*takes deep breath*

this blog situation is putting a wrench in my pretty little plans. in preparation for NaNoWriMo, i want to write every day. whether i do that writing in one of my novels or in a blog post doesn’t matter, as long as i write every day. writing is a practice. once you’re used to pushing out words, especially in a creative capacity, it gets easier to do on command.

for example: i used to be in a music duo. i wrote a lot of the lyrics for said duo. by the time we broke up, i could write a reasonably catchy song about the topic of your choosing by request. the longer i worked on it, the better it would be. but i could give you something of decent quality within 30 minutes. or less, depending on the subject and what kind of day i was having.

i’m sure noveling is a bit more difficult (no, i know noveling is more difficult) than churning out lyrics for 2 1/2-3 minute songs, but still. once you find out how to frame something and get in the zone… well that’s half the battle. plus, once your mind is in the habit of getting in the proper zone, it’s easier to do it on command.

now, since i got this plan i’ve been writing more and i’ve been working to get my blog back online. (letting my website lapse didn’t help.) so, basically, i’ve got the website up, but WordPress (my latest drug of choice) will not install. no matter what angle i try to do it from.

however, every day wasted by failing to get my blog up is a day i’m not writing. writing is really the bigger picture here.

so, in classic Chelsea fashion, i’ve hooked up a workaround!

this is the free Blogger blog i abandoned in favor of my shiny WordPress one. as long as i have a Google account, this blog will exist. which, right now, i’m very glad i remembered.

now that i’ve sorted the sordid, i can move on to talking about the things i actually want to talk about. but perhaps in another post. cuz this has gotten way longer than expected. :P<!– text

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>writing about writing

>my laptop has decided to disconnect from the internet sporadically. so fun! (you could feel the sarcasm, right? cuz it’s emanating in palpable waves.)

hi blog! sorry not to greet you properly, but that is REALLY annoying! i’m sure, as the internet connoisseur that you are, you can feel my pain. (if not from pure empathy, then from those palpable waves i’m emanating.*)

ok, blog. despite the fact that i’m really getting into the swing of things and rather enjoying the frequent blogging this April, i need to regulate my sleep schedule. in other words, i gotta keep this as terse as possible so i can go to bed. …also i need to find where my W-2 crawled off to (as it’s tax day on Friday.)

so i’ve been thinking of NaNoWriMo lately. (remember i said yesterday that we would talk about this today?**) which, i admit again, is rather odd to be think about in April. especially in the midst of a project like BEDA. however, if there is one thing i’ve learned from attempting Wrimo,*** it’s that you definitely benefit from an outline! also, the two stories i’ve developed the most, and are therefore easier to write, are things i’m forbidden to touch. one story is my attempt from last year which means it’s already 10,000 words deep. and the second one i couldn’t write last year for the same reason: i already have bits of it written.

the good news is i have two other possible ideas for this year (there are others, but they’re not nearly as developed or interesting). i’ve already outlined one, which is good, but it involves a LOT of character interaction and dialogue. dialogue being my weakest point. also it involves a lot of character development (so that it’s not a lot of one dimensional, colorless dialogue****). the other i have the basic idea for, but i don’t know exactly how it ends, and although there’s less character development involved (because there are fewer main characters), there is a lot of research involved. it’s kind of sci-fi. also, i haven’t decided exactly how fiction i want to go with it.

so both are difficult, but in different ways. so my decision isn’t purely “which story do i want to write more?”, it’s really more “what kind of work do i want to do more?” do i want to imagine characters complexly and write a bunch of dialogue? or do i want to research and figure out my ending? either way, i want to try to pick one soon so that i have plenty of time to get my foundation in place before storm Wrimo hits.

another thing i’ve learned from last year’s Wrimo***** is that if you have a car accident, you probably should just give it up. cuz staring at the screen while you’re nodding out from Vicodin is extremely non-productive and every bit as exciting as you would imagine. (as in not exciting at all. i realize this is very subjective and that although i assume that everyone would imagine something rather dull or even unpleasant, that some imaginations may roam to more vivid territory. #excessiveclarification)

* 20 bonus points for using the word emanating. twice.

** me neither. but i always glance over my last blog so i know what i’ve already told you.

*** is it cool if i call it “Wrimo”? have we reached that level of familiarity? or have i become like that creepy salesman who starts calling you by a nickname to foster a sense of friendship and trust?

**** why is the word “dialogue” not in Chrome’s dictionary? that is so freakin’ weird. it’s not exactly an archaic word. as in it’s not archaic at all. it’s a common word. and there’s no good fucking reason for it not to be in my browser’s dictionary. jesus! get it together, Google!

***** i’ve decided to go with it regardless of how it may sound. i’m throwing caution to the wind! (man, i live dangerously, don’t i?)
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